February 25, 2018
The Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change released an ambitious omnibus bill on February 14. If enacted, the bill will keep the Commonwealth on track toward 100% renewable energy by 2050. Attorney General Maura Healey has said Massachusetts needs 50% renewables by 2030 to meet the requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act, so along with this bill, we will need to continue energy conservation and efficiency and efforts like community aggregation.
This omnibus bill combines other, smaller bills into one package that can be passed together. Some of its most important features include:
- Increases the growth of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for the electricity that powers our houses and businesses from 1% yearly to 3% yearly. This means every year our electricity includes 3% more renewables than the year before.
- Prohibits a “pipeline tax” on electric ratepayers.
- Restricts the construction, siting, and emissions of natural gas compressor stations and limits tax incentives for the stations.
- Lifts the cap on net metering for solar installations. Establishes a solar target of 20% of all electric power sold in the state by 2020 and 30% by 2030.
- Requires equitable distribution of solar incentive programs, including to low-income communities.
- Restricts emissions from all sectors, including transportation vehicles, buildings or other structures, and manufacturing processes. Sets emission standards for 2030 and 2040.
- Allows the Department of Energy Resources to procure more offshore wind and hydroelectricity, setting a goal of 5,000 megawatts of offshore wind power, roughly three times the current goal.
- Sets targets for energy storage.
- Encourages the reduction of municipal solid waste by creating a solid waste reduction assistance fund for municipal and other recycling programs.
- Encourages the purchase of electric vehicles and the construction of charging stations.
- Creates a Clean Energy Workforce Development Fund for more access to jobs in renewable energy sectors.
- Requires the state’s Pension Reserves Investment Trust to divest from fossil fuels.
- Places a moratorium on fracking for 10 years.
The bill now sits in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, which must vote it out before the entire Senate can vote on it. It would then move to the House of Representatives. Contact your state senators and representatives to support this important bill!